Posted: Monday October 18, 2010 11:29AM ; Updated: Monday October 18, 2010 6:40PM
Cory McCartney

As contenders plummet, Auburn's Newton emerges as new No. 1

Story Highlights

The Tigers' dual-threat quarterback faces his toughest test against LSU Saturday

The Big Ten's Denard Robinson and Terrelle Pryor saw their stock drop this week

LaMichael James stays at No. 2, while Kellen Moore jumps in the rankings to No. 3

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Cam Newton
Another big week propelled Auburn quarterback Cam Newton to the top of the Heisman Watch.
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

A wild weekend that caused chaos just before the first BCS rankings were released also did a number on the race for the Heisman Trophy.

Stocks plummeted as Arkansas' Ryan Mallett suffered a concussion, Michigan's Denard Robinson was knocked out with a shoulder injury and Nebraska's Taylor Martinez was benched. Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor made it through the whole game intact, but he also took a hit as he fizzled in a comeback attempt at Wisconsin.

It all results in a new face atop the Heisman Watch for the first time since Robinson captured the nation with his one-man Wolverines revival in the opening week. But this latest dual-threat quarterback to take over the lead did much more than survive a weekend that saw contender after contender stumble -- he dominated.

Take a bow, Cam Newton.

Auburn's quarterback is built like a defensive end, has a fullback's mentality and a Howitzer of an arm. In Saturday's SEC West shootout, Newton accounted for 328 yards and four TDs in leading the Tigers to 65-43 win over the Razorbacks.

Newton has taken over the top spot, but given that this year is seemingly headed toward a 2007-like chaotic finish, there's no guarantee he'll stay there. For those fans of irony, as well as those with short memories, that year the trophy went to Florida's Tim Tebow, the player that Newton was recruited to succeed in Gainesville before he transferred.

Before the Watchman unveils this week's top 10 Heisman candidates, here's a look back at the rankings after Week 6.

1. Cam Newton, QB Auburn, Jr.

Last Week: 10-of-14 passing for 140 yards and one TD; 25 rushes for 188 yards and three TDs in 65-43 win over Arkansas.

Season: 80-of-122 passing for 1,278 yards, 13 TDs and five INTs; 129 rushes for 860 yards and 12 TDs.

Like Robinson, Newton has built his campaign by shouldering the offensive load, producing 63 percent of Auburn's yardage. But unlike Robinson, there's no question about whether the 6-foot-6, 240-pounder can handle the punishment. Just look at his TD runs of 5, 1 and 3 yards against Arkansas. Newton, who is the first Tiger with four 170-yard rushing games in one season since 1985 Heisman winner Bo Jackson, will now face the best defense he's seen in LSU's third-ranked unit.

Up Next: Saturday vs. No. 6 LSU

2. LaMichael James, RB Oregon, Soph.

Last Week: Idle

Season: 114 rushes for 848 yards and nine TDs; three receptions for 96 yards and one TD.

How did the leader in rushing yards per game spend his off week? Your guess is as good as mine. Chip Kelly closed practices this week and kept his players away from reporters, saying it was what they needed. There will be no keeping James out of the spotlight this week. A Thursday night matchup with UCLA could turn into a showcase for James, considering the Bruins gave up 235 yards vs. Kansas State's Daniel Thomas and 151 vs. Cal's Shane Vereen.

Up Next: Thursday vs. UCLA

3. Kellen Moore, QB Boise State, Jr.

Last Week: 14-of-16 passing for 231 yards and two TDs; one rush for four yards in 48-0 win over San Jose State.

Season: 105-of-151 passing for 1,567 yards, 16 TDs and one INT; eight rushes for minus-11 yards.

It was another early day at the office for Moore. He was wearing a headset by halftime as he led the Broncos to touchdowns on five of their first six possessions and only faced third down three times. He leads the nation in passing efficiency with a 190.3 rating, which puts him well on pace to break Colt Brennan's single-season record of 186.0, and if these blowouts continue, barely a sweat.

Up Next: Tuesday, Oct. 26 vs. Louisiana Tech

4. Denard Robinson, QB Michigan, Soph.

Last Week: 13-of-18 passing for 96 yards, one TD and one INT; 18 rushes for 105 yards in 38-28 loss to Iowa.

Season: 97-of-143 passing for 1,319 yards, nine TDs and five INTs; 137 rushes for 1096 yards and nine TDs.

Robinson got his his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season, impressive against the Hawkeyes, who came in allowing 63.2 yards per game on the ground. But outside of that he produced one play of 20 yards -- after totaling 37 in the first six games -- before he was knocked out with a shoulder injury. And it didn't help that starter-turned-backup Tate Forcier had more success in leading a rally that fell flat.

Up Next: Saturday Oct. 30 at Penn State

5. Terrelle Pryor, QB Ohio State, Jr.

Last Week: 14-of-28 passing for 156 yards and one INT; 18 rushes for 56 yards in 31-18 loss to Wisconsin.

Season: 118-of-181 passing for 1,505 yards, 15 TDs and four INTs; 75 rushes for 526 yards and three TDs; two receptions for 19 yards and one TD.

Ah, the rollercoaster ride that is Pryor on the road. He went from bad (4-of-12 passing for 25 yards in the first half) to good (7-of-7 in the third quarter) to bad again as a late pick sealed the Buckeyes' loss. He has a history of forcing things and will have to wait until a Nov. 20 trip to Iowa to redeem himself after his candidacy took a serious hit.

Up Next: Saturday vs. Purdue
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